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DiResta aired from October 1998 until March 1999 on UPN.
John ( John DiResta), was a pudgy New York City transit policeman living with his family on Long Island in this blue-collar comedy. Also in the bustling DiResta household were his wife Kate (Leila Kenzle), his 2 young kids, Anna and Dakota ( Karle Warren, Ruairi and Sean Kenna), and Tully ( Erik Palladino), his unemployed cousin, who slept in the basement and sometimes babysat for them. John's fellow offercers included Liz( Sandra Purpuro), Kate's outspoken single sister, and Sgt. Kazmerek ( Joe Guzaldo), their obnoxious boss. Cal ( David Batiste), worked at Yankee Frank's, a diner in the Bronx where the transit cops hung out. Stories delt with both the work and home life of the well-meaning but somewhat blustery DiResta, who looked like and seemed to be patterned after The Honeymooner's Ralph Kramden. In February Tully married a young woman he'd been dating for less then 2 months, and John was thrilled to be getting rid of his freeloading cousin. His Dad Vic ( Robert Costanzo), a retired fireman, who took over the subway newsstand on John's beat, became a regular about this time.
Comedian John DiResta didn't go far from home with this series, having himself been a New York City transit cop before turning to comedy for a living.
Here's an article from The LA Times
War's dividing line; 'Dawson's Creek' is ready to ripple; UPN debuts 'DiResta' plus 2
October 04, 1998|STEVEN LINAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER
"Shot Through the Heart" / 8 p.m. HBO
Billed as a tragic tale of how war affects relationships, this fact-based movie tells how two best friends were divided by the Bosnian war. Set in 1984, the on-location drama delves into the camaraderie of Vlado (Linus Roache) and Slavko (Vincent Perez), teammates on a Yugoslavian shooting team. Trouble intervenes when Vlado, a Croatian married to a Muslim, realizes the sniper he must hunt is none other than Slavko, a Serbian he has known since childhood.
"Legalese" / 8 and 10 p.m. TNT
Where "Barbarians at the Gate" targeted the greed of corporate executives, this satirical TV movie takes on the media's lust for salacious stories and an inequitable legal system. The links between these films are James Garner and director Glenn Jordan. Garner plays Norman Keane, a savvy, high-priced attorney to the stars who hires an inexperienced mouthpiece (Edward Kerr) to secretly represent a calculating actress (Gina Gershon) accused of murder. Kathleen Turner co-stars as their nemesis, a take-no-prisoners tabloid reporter who sniffs out the ruse.
"About Sarah" / 9 p.m. CBS
College senior Marybeth (Kellie Martin) must make a life-altering choice. As legal guardian for her mentally disabled mother (Mary Steenburgen), does Marybeth give up a shot at medical school to care for Sarah, who has been declared incompetent by the courts, or does she place her in an institution? In spite of legal obstacles and the opposition of an aunt (Diane Baker), Sarah is finally granted the independence denied in her past, which leads to a surprising discovery that alters their relationship.
"DiResta" / 8:30 p.m. UPN
The weblet takes on the big boys with a revamped comedy lineup sporting three new shows, two of which wouldn't wrest laughs from a clown. The least objectionable casts John DiResta as a New York transit cop with a wife (Leila Kenzle, who played Fran on "Mad About You") and two children. The leads are likable, though the bland script is short on humor. But viewers can see for themselves. After all, you pays your tokens, you takes your chances.
"Dawson's Creek" / 8 p.m. WB
Teens have a tough decision to make this week. With Kevin Williamson's hormonally heavy soap moving to a new night, will its young audience follow what has become the most talked-about TV show among their peers or do they show loyalty to "Beverly Hills, 90210," the Fox serial that has held this slot since the summer of 1992? In the season opener for the WB hit, Dawson (James Van Der Beek) and Joey (Katie Holmes) are uncertain about the direction of their relationship, while Pacey clashes with a new student (Meredith Monroe) at Capeside High.
"7 Days" / 8 p.m. UPN
Frank Parker is the perfect candidate for a potentially suicidal mission. He has a photographic memory, a high threshold for pain and an arrogant, can-do attitude. But can he undo ghastly present-day events by going back in time a mere week? Most top-level government officials, including a seductive Soviet scientist (Justina Vail), are betting he's the right man for the job. Jonathan LaPaglia plays the brash Parker, who in the suspenseful yet oversized two-hour premiere, races against time to prevent the murders of the chief executive and vice president.
"Columbo: Ashes to Ashes" / 9 p.m. ABC
Patrick McGoohan has won two Emmys for his splendid work on previous installments of the clever detective show. Who's to say he won't cop a third statuette for this one? In it, he plays a murderous mortician and one of the last people to see a Hollywood gossip reporter (Rue McClanahan). Enter the ragged but ever-resourceful Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk), whose keen observational skills again are tested in a battle of wits with a worthy adversary. Sally Kellerman plays a widow who gets mixed up in the investigation.
Here's an article on John DiResta from The New York Daily News back in 1996.
COMIC COP JOHN DIRESTA
Questioner: Patricia O'Haire
Sunday, November 24th 1996, 2:01AM
John DiResta is a 32-year-old comedian whose one-man show, "Beat: A Subway Cop's Comedy," has just opened at the Kaufman Theater on W. 42d St.
He is also a member of the NYPD, in the Transit System's Homeless Outreach program, picking up the homeless who wander the subways and taking them to shelters.
He's been a police officer for 10 years, a comedian for maybe 25. He grew up in Woodmere, L.I., with two brothers, both of whom escaped the family calling they're successful toy inventors.
DiResta, who has done 480 comedy gigs, is now on a four-week leave of absence to finish the script for "Beat," a show he's been honing for at least four years.
New York's Funniest Cop, a title he won two years ago in a contest at the comedy club Stand-Up New York, is due back at his Outreach job after Dec. 1. The show runs until Dec. 15. We caught up with him over a cup of coffee this week, and no, he didn't have a donut.
Q. How did you get involved in comedy?
A. I always wanted to be a comedian. I'd memorize comic's routines. I never really wanted to be a policeman. It was my father who wanted all of us to get on the force. He was a fireman, and he thought they'd be good, secure jobs for us. He registered me for the test, and I passed it, but instead of being on the NYPD, I was assigned to Transit.
I had the midnight-to-8 shift in Brooklyn, and I was on the elevated platform of the Ave. X station. It was late, nothing was happening, nobody around, and I felt my energy should be somewhere else. So I took out my notebook and began to write about the things I saw that were funny to me. I never thought then it would come to this whole big thing, an Off-Broadway show.
Q. So how did it get to be this whole big thing?
A. Well, that's sort of curious. I got transferred to the Homeless Outreach Bureau 40 cops, all volunteers. We look for the homeless we call them clients in the subways, offer them food and an option to go to a shelter for the night. We pick up maybe 20, 40 at once, put them in a bus and take them to a shelter. We're not arresting them, and no one's there against their will, but it's miserable just the same. So I'd tell jokes while we rode to the shelters. A lot of them were old, and some were pretty corny, but it didn't matter they were a good audience.
One night my partner, Mike Venckus, was reading the Village Voice, and saw an ad Young Comedians Wanted. No Experience Necessary. He said I should answer it. So I called, and went to my first Open Mike Night at the Comedy Club four y ears ago.
Q. You don't get paid for Open Mike Nights. When did you start being a professional?
A. Memorial Day, 1993, I'll never forget it. It was the first weekend I was paid for doing comedy. I got $100 for Friday and $100 for Saturday at the Italian Villa, in Lancaster, Pa. By then, I had sort of an act, and that pay was a lot better than what I was getting for my second job, as a guard in a small department store in my town. So I figured there was some future in it.
Q. Got any special memories from working in clubs?
A. You bet. I remember going out to Brooklyn, to a place on Utica Ave., for a gig. Guy didn't know I was a cop, but when I got there, he came over to me, real gangster-like, and said, "You better be funny. I got a gun."
I looked at him, opened my coat jacket and said, "Yeah? So have I."
He didn't ask me back.
Q. What kind of material do you do?
A. Well, I don't do jokes, really. You won't hear a single donut joke from me. What I do it's more like stories. Funny stories. Like the time I volunteered to work as a clown for the annual Transit Police Family Day in Coney Island. Disaster! Thirty minutes after I got there, I ran out of twisty balloons. My jumbo yo-yo and juggling balls were stolen. And tell me have you ever gone to the bathroom in a public stall with size 331/2 floppy shoes sticking out from underneath?
Q. So your act has changed since you began?
A. Well, yeah. You learn what works, what doesn't. I worked in Pip's, in Brooklyn; it went good. Did a few other places, won the Funniest Cop contest and finally was booked on a New Talent Showcase at Caroline's Comedy Club. Those kind of gigs, your friends show up. And the producers of my show showed up, and that's when we got it all together.
Q. And you wrote the whole show yourself?
A. Yes. Donna Daley, the director, helped me a lot in shaping it, building it. I took a couple of courses at Playwrights Horizons that were geared to one-person shows, and I must have read every book I could find on the subject. I always have a pen and paper with me so I can jot down things I see or think about.
You should see my original script it's all written on different pieces of paper, maybe 20 different typewriters or computers. I don't own a computer, so I'd wait till one was available. I wrote whenever I could, on my lunch hour, at home anywhere.
Q. When you go out of town to work, do you find people relate to your subject? After all, there aren't that many places with subways.
A. Ha. That depends. The Italian Villa, for example, was in the heart of Amish country. Pretty quiet area. It was a motel that had entertainment on weekends, and I didn't know what to expect. There were maybe 170 people there, and it was great. I did 20 minutes and got great, super laughs.
A while later, I was working in Hartford at a place, and I swear, I might as well have been whistling in the wind or talking to myself, for all the reaction I got. So as I said, it depends.
Q. Will you be happy to go back to being a cop when the play is over?
A. Hey I've got three kids, a house and a car. I have no choice. But you know, about 90% of our clients are regular customers. We've become friends of sorts, know each other. Like if there's a call about a homeless person at the Myrtle Ave. station, we know immediately it's Frankie short, white guy with a beard. Same with a lot of the other calls.
For a clip of DiResta go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDB-q2NoZQU
For more on DiResta go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DiResta
For a Website dedicated to John DiResta go to http://www.johndiresta.com/
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Keywords: DiResta Cast (Links Updated 7/25/18)